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Nelson Charges Rounds and Rhoden with Budget Failure; Rounds Plays Word Games

Rep. Stace Nelson hits TV within hours of declaring his U.S. Senate candidacy and makes clear he knows whom to hit and how to hit them:

Nelson says he's a true fiscal conservative. He points out that the state accumulated a multimillion dollar deficit under the leadership of former Governor Mike Rounds and State Senator Larry Rhoden, which eventually led to the ten percent budget cuts in 2011.

"When I took office as a freshman, I was presented with a $127 million deficit that our former governor and former House Majority Leader had created in the state of South Dakota," Nelson said [Ben Dunsmoor, "Nelson Prepares to Join U.S. Senate Race,", 2013.08.13].

Rhoden fluff-blusters, but from Team Rounds, hilarity ensues:

In response to Nelson's statements on the state deficit, the Rounds campaign says there was never actually a deficit when Rounds left office but a projection that there would be a budget shortfall because of the recession. Communications Director Mitch Krebs adds that Rounds proposed a budget that would have made cuts and used reserves to balance the budget before Daugaard took office [Dunsmoor, 2013.08.13].

Oh, no, there was no deficit, just a projection of a deficit. That's why our schools and state offices didn't have to make any cuts; they just had to project some cuts. And Governor Rounds proposed his own budget slashing and reserve burning not because there was any actual budget problem, but just for kicks and giggles on the way out the door.

Stace isn't even one day in, and he already has Smiling Mike saying stupid things. You can't tell me Rounds holds 50% with laughable budget responses like that.


  1. Rick 2013.08.14

    That explanation is pure BS, but just watch the reporters nod their heads and buy the lie.

  2. Nick Nemec 2013.08.14

    Didn't Rounds spend years and several budget addresses trying to paper over a "structural deficit" (his term not mine).

  3. Rick 2013.08.14

    From the Dec. 7, 2010, issue of the Rapid City Journal under the headline “State faces $75 million deficit next year, Gov. Rounds says.”

    South Dakota faces a $75 million structural deficit next year and should make cuts to K-12 education and Medicaid payments to balance its budget, Gov. Mike Rounds said Monday.

    Rounds will present the final annual budget address of his tenure as governor Tuesday at noon Mountain Time. Legislators gathered in the Capitol for the address will hear Rounds call for them to use a mixture of cuts and reserve funds.

    Gov.-elect Dennis Daugaard will deliver his own budget proposal in January after he takes office. Daugaard, who helped Rounds put together his budget proposal, said he will make some changes but expects to use Rounds' budget as a baseline.

    "There is a structural deficit that will be significant, and it will require the Legislature to work with the governor to come up with ways to further reduce ongoing expenditures if they want to eliminate the structural deficit," Rounds said.

    Among the cuts Rounds is proposing are a 5 percent reduction to state aid to school districts and millions less for Medicaid providers.

    Read the rest here -

    Question: How much Obama Stimulus money did Rounds spend to balance his budgets? Thank goodness for that Stimulus, right?

  4. Rorschach 2013.08.14

    I don't know the answer to your question, Rick. But I do know that President Obama dragged Rounds's rear out of the fire with a huge stimulus for state government after President Bush bequeathed President Obama with the Great Recession. Rounds ought to publicly thank the President for sending all of the stimulus money to help Rounds avoid greater "structural deficits."

    But really what I would like to hear from Stace Nelson is that the federal government needs to scale back its scope. Stop kicking in dollars for every state and local project everywhere in the country. Stop paying to build and maintain state, city and county roads and bridges. Stop hemorrhaging money every time the weather does anything anywhere in the country (The feds are paying for most of the tree cleanup in Sioux Falls). Make state and local governments tax citizens at the level necessary to pay for state and local needs and wants. If Uncle Sam wasn't picking up the tab for everything, state and local government would have to be more fiscally conservative in saving for emergencies and in discerning between what is a need and what is a want. A free-spending Uncle Sam enables state and local government to behave less responsibly - just as free-spending parents enable poor financial decision making by their children.

  5. Rick 2013.08.14

    Just in case people have memory problems with the size and difficulty of the debt Rounds dropped on Daugaard, I'll post some reminders for your convenience.

    From the Argus Leader Jan. 29, 2011
    Headline - Budget alternatives a tough sell

    For South Dakota lawmakers sequestered in Pierre, February is time for difficult decisions about the state's upside-down budget.
    Gov. Dennis Daugaard unveiled his austerity plan almost two weeks ago and went on tour making his case. The best treatment for the state's ailment comes in one big dose, he said.
    That means closing this legislative session the $127 million gap between what the South Dakota treasury takes in and what we spend. To do that, Daugaard proposes to reduce spending for education, Medicaid and a host of other state-supplied services by 10 percent.
    The plan - rumored since Daugaard won election in November - prompted gulps and gasps from the affected sectors. It also put individual lawmakers in the spotlight when they returned home to hear from the voters.
    Now alternatives to the Daugaard plan have started to emerge - from raising sales taxes to dipping into reserves - as the hometown representatives and senators try to balance the fiscal needs of the state against the stress on their schools, nursing homes and main street merchants.
    It's unplowed fiscal ground for politicians who never have faced such a gaping hole.
    - See more at:

  6. Stace Nelson 2013.08.14

    @Rorschach It is imperative for Congress to cut the size and scope of the federal government domestically, but more importantly, internationally.

  7. Rick 2013.08.14

    From the Aberdeen American News Jan. 30, 2011
    Headline - Analysis: Examining S.D.'s $127M shortfall

    PIERRE - A complex set of facts and assumptions about Medicaid, tax revenues and South Dakota's economy drove the decision by Gov. Dennis Daugaard to seek $127 million of reductions in general-fund spending for state government's 2012 budget. First, South Dakota's costs for Medicaid services are going up. Second, bank tax revenues have nearly evaporated. Contractor excise tax revenues are still down. Video lottery revenues have fallen about 15 percent because of the smoking ban. State sales tax revenues aren't increasing fast enough to cover those gaps and pay for the additional costs for Medicaid.
    Third, the $107 million in state reserves aren't sufficient beyond 2012 to cover the combination of weak tax revenues and increased Medicaid costs, and the economic forecast doesn't point to sales tax revenues growing sufficiently to patch the problem in time by 2013.
    - See more at:,0,3718022.story#sthash.niU9nPjz.dpuf

  8. Rick 2013.08.14

    And now for the soft shoe shuffle of lying about the obvious budget mess hiding in plain sight until the election is over. Perhaps this snippet from former GOP Chairman Joel Rosenthal will clarify how this little game gets played. I think you’ll recognize similar tactics between 2010 and now. It’s from R’s excellent blog South Dakota Straight Talk, posted Dec. 5, 2010:

    The DD campaign raised over a million dollars early on and basically both in the primary and general election ran as the front runner, saying little, avoiding controversy, really just a run out the clock campaign. Compound these advantages with a personality that is easy to like and a great work ethic, it was a winning combination. Dennis Daugaard received over 50% of the vote in a five way primary and winning in a landslide in the general election.
    Daugaard threaded the needle in his support of Rounds and stating his own positions. During the primary he denied there was a budget crisis or even a big problem that we could not grow out of. During the general election campaign he continued with this line of response offering little more specifics except to say that he would not spend money that he did not have. Only on election night did he say he was going to work on the budget problem.

  9. interested party 2013.08.14

    The military has just announced extended medical benefits for all spouses and domestic partners of personnel.

  10. Taunia 2013.08.14

    New poll question: Stace or Rounds will win Republican primary?

    Like someone mentioned in another thread, Bosworth is (always was) toast.

  11. BlackHills76 2013.08.14

    Wow Stace Nelson reads and responds to average SD citizens ideas and thoughts? That's a very respectable quality in today's world of politics. Considering that Nelson and Weiland aren't the candidates that the establishment wants it would make for a very interesting general election. What was considered to be a boring election might just get exciting for us common people. I guess we will have to wait and see how it all turns out.

  12. Owen Reitzel 2013.08.14

    "It is imperative for Congress to cut the size and scope of the federal government domestically, but more importantly, internationally."

    What should we cut Stace?

  13. Richard Schriever 2013.08.14

    For some perspective on US' "foreign aid" expenditures - the US spends more per capita on Israel's defense/military than do the Israelis themselves. The vast majority of "foreign expenditures" are on military adventurism - and equipment. It's kind of a round-a-bout subsidy to the military industrial complex, as much of that foreign military aid actually gets spent with US arms manufacturers. Glad to see Stace Nelson wants to wind that whole scheme down - as his #1 priority.

  14. Taunia 2013.08.14

    Internationally? As in, defunding Israel support? That would mean going against the tea party's vehement support of Israel, Glenn Beck's Israel rally and the "Christian's United for Israel" PAC.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.08.14

    Candidate Nelson, isn't our greatest "foreign" expenditure by far our military budget, the money we spend to project force and maintain troops in Germany, Korea, Japan, the Middle East, and elsewhere? (Paging Ron Paul... and Nelson's Ron Paul supporters?)

  16. Tasi Livermont 2013.08.14

    I could almost become a Republican just so I can support Stace in the primary. Almost.

    I'm probably crazy, but I actually believe that whatever human faults he has (because everyone has them) elitism, Republican machine partying and gross deception are not among them.

  17. Winston 2013.08.14

    Rep. Nelson, name your cuts.

  18. Jim 2013.08.14

    Dear Stace:

    You are not going to be able to out maneuver the rounds machine in definitely. They are too experienced, too well-connected and too well-funded. They are pros at spinning bullshit into a silk shall. Right now you have them squirming a bit bc with you in the race, they know they are going to have work harder and spend more money. Can't just "ride out the clock". But if you are going to "take that hill" it won't be alone by sheer force of will. You support on your flanks, air support, patience, well timed strikes, free media, etc. what you will also need is more honey than vinegar to draw in moderates. Can't make any changes if cant get elected. Get experienced operatives around you. Don't alienate rounds' supporters or they will vote for him by default. And if you are going to have people like howie and hubbel supporting you, please don't put them on point publicly for anything. They are divisive figures that don't draw well from your target demographic - moderates who are casual rounds supporters. Just a few thoughts for you to consider if you want.

  19. Taunia 2013.08.14

    "You support on your flanks, air support, patience, well timed strikes, free media, etc..." because this is, after all, a war.

    Pretty incredible analogy since the "war" is on potential state-wide constituents and what can be done to make sure they don't have access to health care, access to food programs when needed, long-term unemployment benefits, VA jobs programs, clean air/drinking water, et al.

  20. Jenny 2013.08.14

    Isn't Stace a big Noem supporter? Does he agree with Noem's farm bill which (as always) hands out farm welfare checks to big farmers? Nelson can't have it both ways and claim to be a fiscal conservative while supporting this farm bill.

  21. Rorschach 2013.08.14

    Stace will call you, Jenny. 867-5309

  22. Jerry 2013.08.14

    Lol Rorschach, you have a good memory.

  23. Jim 2013.08.14

    Taunia, I'll be voting for weiland. But if he loses, is rather it be stace than rounds.

  24. Stace Nelson 2013.08.14

    @Owen There are areas in our defense budget that can be trimmed, foreign aid, and critical looks at Dept of Energy & Education, just to name a few.

    @Tasi I'm honored..

    @Jenny I would not have voted for the bill in it's original form. I am not a fan of subsidies and I think some of the past ones have caused actual harm to family farms. With our national debt at $18 trillion and growing, I think everything should be reviewed with a critical eye towards reductions with the first focus though on the monies were are sending overseas.

  25. interested party 2013.08.14

    How surprised were you, Rep. Nelson, by the Thune non-endorsement of your opponent in the primary?

  26. Robert Klein 2013.08.14

    Stace, that last response has no meat in it. What areas in the defense budget? How much would you cut them?

    All the conservatives float the idea to "cut foreign aid" but the reality is that you could do away with foreign aide and it wouldn't have a huge impact on federal spending. But it sure sounds good!

  27. grudznick 2013.08.14

    Mr. Nelson, how many campaign staff do you plan to hire and do you plan to accept PAC funding?

  28. Jim 2013.08.14

    ...and one more thing, don't play patty cake on blogs.

  29. Taunia 2013.08.14

    "@Owen There are areas in our defense budget that can be trimmed, foreign aid, and critical looks at Dept of Energy & Education, just to name a few."

    Right. Renewable Energy and Science are under the Energy Department. Must. Cut. #WarOn....Everything.

    And a critical look at Education is the #WarOnPublicEducation.

    Don't forget to campaign on overturning all women's health issues and that you will sponsor laws that America must say "In God We Trust" in all public and private areas, while doing the secret handshake that only "real American's" will be allowed to know.

  30. Taunia 2013.08.14

    women's health issues = women's health laws

  31. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.08.14

    I'm thinking about how sharp your criticisms and questions of Nelson are. It is much easier than other Republican candidates because he makes himself available. Admirable for both questioners and questionee. Just a reminder to focus just as fiercely on other candidates. Don't make Nelson pay unduly for his willingness to engage while the others prosper by hiding.

    (I know, I'm speaking to the choir.)

  32. Douglas Wiken 2013.08.14

    Beware of answered prayers. Stace promotes a form of GOP populism a bit in the direction of the Bull Moose or Progressives. If he can maintain support for that and gets the GOP nomination, he will be a strong opponent cutting into Weiland's populist appeal.

    And, what is the difference between a GOP controlled house at work and on vacation? They aren't voting for the 50th time to end affordable health care.

  33. Joan 2013.08.14

    I have never thought we should be helping Israel, even though my ultra conservative, Bible thumping sisters say the Bible has something in there about Israel being something. I can't remember what they have preached to me about that topic. Unfortunately they never give me the opportunity to ask them the question I want to ask them and I'm not going to bring up the topic myself.

  34. Jenny 2013.08.14

    Jana, can you explain in further detail what these farm subsidy graphs are representing?

    Jim, I disagree with your advice on Stace staying away from political blogs. The internet plays an important part of people's lives today (whether we like it or not) especially with younger generations. It's kind of the grass-roots level of today. Just from previous comments here, people like this accessibility of a politician answering questions readily! It's getting people interested and excited.

  35. Winston 2013.08.14

    "should be reviewed with a critical eye towards reductions with the first focus though on the monies were are sending overseas"

    That sounds like a generic sweeping generality often proposed as the funding mechanism for an affirmative plan submitted by high school policy debaters.

  36. Jim 2013.08.14

    Jenny, just my personal preference. I not saying he shouldn't use social media, but exchanges on comment sections don't appear (to me) as senatorial, and spontaneous comments can be a problem later. I just think it is a little risky. As shown above, when stace commented above, he quickly generated about three questions. In addition to the risk of a slip, he is not going to have time to do that. Some people may be ok with it, but I think if is bad form. Lots of people are going posting things he won't agree with. He needs to learn to let that slide and focus on the big picture.

  37. Winston 2013.08.14

    I have often wondered what it would have been like if we had had the "Internets" back in the early 1980s. Can you imagine how "Wild Bill" would have handled all the disparaging comments that could have potentially made on blog sites against him and his administration. Heck, he once sued a book store just because they sold a particular book (that's like suing the paperboy over "Yellow journalism.").... just a historic thought......

  38. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.08.15

    Jenny and Jim, I would suggest that Stace's willingness to engage on social media is a large part of the reason that he has better name recognition than the other not-Rounds candidates, that folks like BH76 are willing to vote for him, and that Dems like Jim and Tasi are willing to even consider the possibility that Stace could be a better Senator than Mike Rounds.

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